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Does getting divorced require you hire a lawyer?

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PaperRing posted 2/28/2014 20:56 PM

So ws asked he something today that has started my wheels turning.

Isn't it possible to get divorced without hiring his and her divorce lawyers? My boss's divorce fees totaled $18k and that was only for him! With less than that In out bank accounts, how can this make sense?!

I can see how a bad divorce would require that you hire a lawyer so you don't get ass raped, but what if you're two people who are civil and can work things out like two adults?

Phoenix1 posted 2/28/2014 21:13 PM

Check with your court online. Many states will allow you to do it yourself and provide DIY paperwork. XPOS and I went thru a dissolution and we handled it ourselves (I actually did all the paperwork). We followed the state guidelines for CS. We were in agreement on division of marital assets. The court must (and did) approve the final agreement to ensure everything (debts and assets) are equitably distributed.

It is important to at least consult with an attorney and do your research to know what you would likely receive if it was left up to a judge. If you are not comfortable about any of it, consult an attorney or at least have one review any final agreement before submitting it to the court. That doesn't cost much.

Doing it this way meant our divorce cost the $150 filing fee only. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but not everyone is fortunate to have someone agreeable to work with.

[This message edited by Phoenix1 at 9:17 PM, February 28th (Friday)]

mandan66 posted 2/28/2014 21:24 PM

XPOS and I went thru a mediator, who had a divorce CPA figure out all the finances, and then gave us what the state guidelines were with possible spousal and child support. Then several formulas were given that we could go with. All told, the attorney fees were about $1600 each, which I thought wasn't too bad.

ruinedandbroken posted 2/28/2014 21:32 PM

I think you can but I guess it would depend on your state.

I would hire one anyway that you can share...just to look things over to make sure everything is fair and so you have no regrets.

Gajit posted 2/28/2014 21:39 PM

I would NEVER advise "sharing" a lawyer in a divorce proceeding. JMHO

PhoenixRising88 posted 2/28/2014 21:52 PM

You can represent yourself in Texas provided it is not contested. Even with children, even with property. The key is, it has to be agreed upon - who gets what, etc. . I know this because I just got done living it. I wrote mine - My Ex and I agreed on everything that went into the papers- and my divorce was granted with no issues earlier this month.

Uncontested with no kids is around $300. Uncontested with kids is around $400.

PaperRing posted 2/28/2014 22:03 PM

Thanks. I know way more now than I did before. If and when it comes to divorce, I just hope we don't go from focusing our positive energies on our kids, to aiming our negative energies on each other because it will just get expensive.

one2ndchance posted 2/28/2014 23:12 PM

If your finances are complicated (lots of assets in different products, like real estate, pension plans, partnerships, business ownership, etc.), then you'll want a lawyer. If they're simple and you can agree on division of assets and debt, then you can check your state's website to review the divorce laws to see if you can DIY.

Ethically, a lawyer should not represent both parties.

PaperRing posted 3/1/2014 00:40 AM

We have 2 kids, 2 paid off cars, his and her 401k's (meaning separate), joint bank accounts, and a house under my name that we bought before we got married. So it could get complicated depending on emotional states, but it seems straight forward to me provided nobody starts getting nasty or vindictive.

Catwoman posted 3/1/2014 06:41 AM

I don't think anyone with children should do a divorce without a lawyer.

However, the two of you can go to a mediator to draw up an agreement, then you hire an attorney to look over the agreement and ensure your interests are protected.

An attorney hired by both of you cannot legally protect one person's interests over the other's. Neither can a mediator. Only an attorney YOU hire can legally give you advice protecting your interests.

Your kids are young, so you will need to abide by this agreement for many years. Also, you may not be thinking of expenses like college or a car, but an attorney will help with that.


Dreamboat posted 3/1/2014 09:12 AM

I don't think anyone with children should do a divorce without a lawyer.

I completely agree with this. You need a solid agreement with no vague language to fall back on if your X starts to jerk you around.

devistatedmom posted 3/1/2014 09:37 AM

I did what Catwoman said. We went to a private divorce mediator and split the cost. I think it was total about 650. This was helpful for reasons people have stated: we didn't know all the ins and outs, they bring up things that we wouldn't think of.

I had a lawyer look it over before I signed to make sure there weren't any loopholes in how it was written up. That became our legal sep papers. A year later, I had the lawyer file the D papers for me. She knew I was tight for cash, so she charged me minimally.

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